“Getting into academic research and writing is like entering a conversation with someone else; a community of different perspectives”, my university writing professor explained. “They say, I say” – the title of an eponymous guidebook – was the formula for argumentative writings. And these principles of engagement also apply to commentaries and musings on the Internet, as I understood from Visa’s recent post: to enter a community of diverse views, to gain connections, and to contribute to the discourse. Especially if you add a counter-argument or new insights, provide context and backgrounding, or spot a lacuna.
Yet these conversations go on – with or without you. I write because I care, but why should the reader do the same?
It must therefore follow that one has to feel self-important to have a say. In the words of American writer E.B. White, “Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays”. All of us have opinions, but as a blogger within a crowded space of voices I reckon I am must be unusually presumptuous. That people should bother with that I think. I look no further than my archives to see my pompous, self-indulgent self, problematising anything and espousing grand proposals for change and progress.
So over 699 articles in the last five years, I thank you – the reader – for bearing with my ego. That is more than 300,000 words you had to plough through (without cringing). I treasure the criticisms twice as much. Not everything was about me, me, me, and credit goes to the guest contributors as well as the people I interviewed. Plus along the way the internship at The Learning Lab and the stint with Breakfast Network did me plenty of good.
So do stick around, and bear with me. Hopefully – eventually – it will be worth your while.